Friday, December 9, 2016


We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
-Winston S. Churchill

At Thanksgiving time, grandson Griffin asked me why I make quilts to donate. I gave him an answer I thought a 6-year-old  could understand. However, to be honest, I'm really not sure how to explain why I donate. It is just what I do. It feels good. I want to give back. I enjoy giving. I want to help. I want to make a difference. It is my work at this point in my life. I am blessed to be in good health and blessed to have enough time and resources to share.  

“Happiness doesn't result from what we get, but from what we give.”  
-Ben Carson

A couple of weeks ago, the five local children who lost their home in a fire finally got their new quilts. We've been trying to get together for a couple of months. Sorry no pictures because I didn't have parental permission. The older three girls came and picked out quilts for themselves and their younger brother and sister. It was easy to tell when they saw quilts they loved. It was a fun time.

Yesterday we were in Madison, Wisconsin, at American Family Children's Hospital aka University of Wisconsin Children's Hospital. I think this now is an annual Christmas trip for us.

We delivered 15 quilts. As we entered the building carrying our pile of quilts, many people saw the quilts and gave us big smiles. The workers at the desk were so excited. As we were leaving, one of the valet guys came over to shake my hand and say thank you. It was fun. I felt like I was making a difference.

When I was hand quilting my very first quilt, our youngest son sat near me, covered with part of the quilt, and said he could feel the love and the hugs in that quilt. I pray that the recipients of my quilts can feel the love and hugs in their quilts.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Sweater and Ear Warmer done...

The ear warmer was easy - just a simple knit. I wanted a simple red band. The yarn is Zitron Gobi that was leftover from another project. 

The Horseshoe Cable Headband pattern by Sarah Gettel is free on Ravelry. I didn't have enough yarn to crochet around the edges but it will work fine.

Now Ray's sweater was another story. The knitting was easy - I began it last January and finished knitting in the spring about the time we were leaving on our Northeastern trip. I set it aside - all that was needed was sewing the pieces together, picking up stitches and knitting the crew neck. I decided over a week ago to get it done. 

I reread the directions which were minimal - “Sew sleeve saddles to front and back, adjusting length of back neck saddle strips to fit smoothly into neckline by adding or removing rows as needed.” The saddles on the sleeves were strange and I tried to work them into the back neck - isn't that what the instructions said? They were weird but I persevered. I picked up the neck stitches and finished the sweater.

When Ray tried it on, I hated the fit of the sleeves and the places where the saddles turned to the top of the shoulders were not even. So... I frogged the crew neck and the seams. I had an idea - only because I've been a seamstress for years. This idea did not come from any knitting experience.

I made those funny pieces of the sleeve saddles longer and created a yoke going across the back of the sweater. I used a kitchener stitch to fasten the two together. Then I sewed the seams again - all went together very well. I picked up stitches and knit the crew neck again and finally had a sweater that looked pretty good.

This is the back. The yoke piece is not even an inch wide. Now that right angle that you see on the left matches the one on the front of the sweater.

The pattern is Men's Cabled Pullover by Mona Schmidt. I think I made the sleeves a bit long - I will take care of that. I think if I block this again that all will be well. I can also remove a little of the fullness in the sleeves.

 I used Cascade 220 Superwash yarn which is 100% wool.

As happy as I/we are with the finished sweater, I'm hesitant to recommend this pattern. My experience was frustrating and I think the entire sweater would have been frogged without my seamstress knowledge. The instructions for finishing were rather incomplete. The good part is that I figured it out!

Monday, December 5, 2016

First Scrappy Stars Quilt, Mariner's Daughter Socks are done!

I bought this quilt as a kit a number of years ago. The flannels in the kit caught my eye - I loved the colors. So at a retreat this fall, I finally made the top. Now the quilt is finished! The pattern is Kwik Scrappy Star.

It is not very big - just 37" X 45" but very snuggly. The batting is Dream Cotton and the top and back are both flannel. 

I used Aurifil thread to piece and quilt this donation quilt. I attempted to free motion the Jester Hat motif. I'm almost dyslexic with that design - I'm not sure why. Sometimes it looked okay!

While working on my  clean-out-this-stash project, I decide to make another larger quilt with this pattern. The pattern is pieced like Buggy Barn patterns - not my favorite way of piecing but  I liked the outcome. The other quilt is in the pile of 15 waiting to be pinned and quilted. They quietly wait for me which I greatly appreciate!
I also finished my Mariner's Daughter Socks. I used Ann Budd's Knitting Socks book and am happy with the results. 

The yarn is Lichen and Lace 80/20 sock yarn from New Brunswick. I purchased the yarn at The Mariner's Daughter in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on our trip last spring/summer.

I am blocking a sweater for Ray and a headband/earwarmer fro me. I'll take pictures when they are done. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Sailboats are ready to sail...

A finish! The sailboat quilt is done. Another quilt from my clean-out-this-stash project. The sailboats were left from a baby quilt and I just couldn't throw them away. I think that is how my stash got way out of hand - I just can't throw fabric away! I added strips of bright colors and cut some strips to include a sailboat or two or three.

The back is blue with little white flecks. I added a column of bright colors to add interest. 

This donation quilt is 44.5" by 59". I used Dream Cotton batting and Aurifil thread for the piecing and the quilting. I machine quilted waves using a walking foot. The quilt has already been laundered so you can see a bit of those puckers that I love.


We saw the doctor and we got meds - LOTS of meds. It's taken a while but we are both FINALLY feeling better. A few days ago, we both were able to go a whole day without a nap - long naps like 2 hours or more. We both still have a cough and aren't 100% but we are MUCH better and the doctor says we are no longer contagious. We are not usually sick so this has been unusual for us and it's been off and on for almost 2 months.

Today I walked on the treadmill - my first real exercise in weeks. It felt good but I think it will take a few days to get my endurance back. At least we are on the road back to normal, whatever that is!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Red Lasagna Finished and turtles???

Red Lasagna is finished! It is 57" by 60". I used Aurifil thread and Dream Cotton batting.  I quilted this with a wavy line using a walking foot.

It's another gorgeous day so I had to go outside to photograph this donation quilt. I obviously did not do a good job of spreading it out flat.

The back is a very dark navy with birds. By piecing the backing, it took about a yard less of backing fabric.


That green quilt is on the design wall again and it has turtles! I think it adds a great kid friendly element and some needed color. I just need to decide on borders. 


Today is go-see-the-doctor-day. Ray is there now and my turn is coming soon. I'm hoping a little medicine will make all this crud disappear...

Friday, November 11, 2016

A pair of socks and an idea

Another pair of hand knit socks. These feel so good - I can't wait to wear them! This yarn comes from Halifax, Nova Scotia, but I think it is available in the US.  I bought it last spring in Baddeck, NS. 

The yarn is Fleece Artist Cottage Socks in the color Forge Fire. 
Things are moving slow around here. We are both sick with colds or maybe it is something else. It kind of comes and goes but doesn't go away. We have physicals next week and decided to wait to see the doctor until then. Hope that wasn't a mistake.
During one of my good hours, I put this quilt on the wall and it just seemed too plain. Of course, I'm not a green person but it really needs something.

So I have an idea... stay tuned!

Monday, November 7, 2016

A Weekend Retreat

A group of us try to get together for a retreat a couple of times a year - at least we used to. And then we couldn't find a place and life got in the way. 

But this past week was a dream come true week. Did you hear the Chicago Cubs won the World Series? And four of us got together for a retreat! 

I've been a Cubs fan my entire life but not quite as die-hard as my husband, my brothers, and my in-laws so the week was unbelievable. Before this fall, the last Division win for the Cubs was in 1945 and the last World Series win 1908. 

And the 4 of us - Sandy, Barb, Krista, and me - got to go on a retreat together. We found an airbnb rental - The Farmhouse - that is rather close to all of us.  It's not a retreat center but we took tables and lights and it all worked well. 

We were out in the country and had gorgeous weather.

We had a great visit, accomplished lots, and ate well. Here are some of the finishes.
Barb's handwork
Krista's quilt
Sandy's quilt
Sandy's quilt
Barb's tiny blocks
This is Krista's quilt again - she use the same pattern from the newest Block magazine that ...

I used for this scrap donation quilt!
my donation quilt
my donation quilt
my donation quilt
We didn't have design walls so I took the last two pictures at home. 

Hopefully this will be somewhat of a quiet week - I need the rest! I've caught Ray's cold/cough. Think I'll just be lazy as much as possible.


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